I get asked a lot about what it is like to keep my own chickens. Some who ask are just curious, and others want to know because they are intrigued and interested in keeping their own chickens. I thought I would share some a few fun facts about keeping chickens.
The first thing I say is you MUST, MUST, MUST have a coop that is secure with a fenced in area for them to roam.
If you are not interested in making an investment in a coop and fencing, don’t bother keeping chickens.
Why do I say such a thing? Because I have learned the hard way, everything will want to eat your chickens, and I mean everything. The neighbors dog, your dog, the local fox, coyotes, hawks, raccoons, possums and even weasels all want to munch on your chickens. Let’s face it chickens don’t have any fighting skills to protect themselves, so it is up to you. That means a fence to keep out daytime predators and a nice secure coop to keep those nocturnal predators.
Past that big warning, I talk about all the fun, strange and silly things that come along with keeping chickens.
Keeping chickens means lots and lots of poop. Yep, you heard me. Chickens are poop machines. They poop in their coop, they poop where they walk, where they sleep, where they… you get the idea. I have read that one hen can produce 45 pounds of poop, per year. That my friend is a lot of poop!
BUT, not to fret, because chicken poop is the best when it comes to composting. If you are a gardener, BONUS! Now you can start making your own garden compost.
Since we touched on composting and gardening, let me just tell you about having chickens running around your garden. Now my chickens are fenced in, but when I am out working in my garden I let them out of their enclosure and give them time to run around the yard. While they are out exploring they hunt down bugs and gobble them up. Making them the perfect organic all natural pest control.
While they are out walking and exploring their curiosity at about everything can lead to the best entertainment. Cause let me tell you chickens are busy bodies.
Many a time I have gone into the house to grab something, only to head back out and find them in the garage checking out the tool chest, as they were on top of the tool chest. We won’t tell my hubby that one happened.
Chickens also love treats. They come running when they think you have a bag of goodies. It is so cute to see a pack of fluffy chickens waddling as fast as they can toward you if they thing you got the goods. If I am out in the garden when my hubby gets home from work he will grab the treat bag and come out to see me, because he gets the biggest kick out of all the girls running towards him to get the free handouts.
Chickens come in all different shapes and colors. I have several different breeds of chickens. The reason I chose to mix it up was not only because I enjoy the different colors of the chickens, but because their eggs can come in as many different colors and shape as the chickens themselves.
I get asked a lot if the eggs whose shells are blue taste or look different then the eggs that are white. Nope they all taste they same. What makes your eggs taste different is how your chickens live, do they get out of a coop and get out to forage, and what kind of food do you feed them. The higher quality food the healthier chicken and the better tasting and quality egg. I have been feeding Purina certified USDA Organic chicken feed that I get at my local Tractor Supply store. Chicken feed and supplies are readily available at most feed stores, and on line.
Another reason I like to have different breeds in my flock is each breed has unique personality characteristics. Just like dogs each breeds from the next. Some chickens are friendly and liked to be close to you and will even come sit in your lap, while others are skittish and shy, as well as some can be down right mean. Each has their own quirks and it won’t take long for you to pick up on their individuality.
Lastly I tell anyone who is interested in keeping chickens that they need to give care past giving them water and feed. You will have to spend a bit of time getting to know your chickens, how they act, and keeping an eye on them. If their behavior changes, if they limp, if they have dirty butts, or if their legs are swelling you may have to give a treatment. Not to say that chickens are high maintenance, but they can get sick, sore feet, and respiratory infections. The thing about chickens is they are tough, so when you notice something wrong, sometimes it may be too late.
Thankfully there is so much information on the Internet that if you do notice something off about your chicken, typing in your symptoms typically will give you plenty of advice on what may be the cause.
Keeping chickens is definitely a fun and rewarding hobby. Not only for all the gorgeous and delicious eggs you will get, but because they offer so much fun and benefits for you and your whole family.
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This post has been sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, as such I received free product from Purina to share my opinion with my readers. However, my opinions are based on my individual and unique experience. Based on my experience in 2016 I believe this line of feed has been amazing for my flock and I encourage you to try it too!